Content contributed and originally ran on Lacuna Loft’s website at: https://lacunaloft.org/beginners-look-yoga-for-cancer-survivors/.
Into my survivorship I have been prone to some anxiety, ranging from triple checking the house before leaving to strong bouts of crying when anything death-of-an-animal/pet crosses my mind. I think my body has used it as a crutch to try and feel more in control during a time when I often feel very out of control over loads of things happening in my life. One of the activities that helps me regulate all of this bent up anxiety is exercise. Most of my childhood and adolescence were spent swimming…an activity both forgiving in its toll on the body (very very low impact!) and in its indifference towards one’s lack of balance. In my adulthood I’ve taken up running and biking much more aggressively, with the occasional stint in the pool. My husband jokes that I am not a land-lover though…I have a tendency to trip over very minimal changes in the side walk. 🙂 Sometimes though, you just don’t want to get up and run! Sometimes I feel sick (or am actually sick) or need a day off of harsher physical activity…but what to do with my extra anxiety then? Meditation and mindfulness have been two tools on my radar to try.
Fast forward a bit and a new person moved into town. The two of us became friends quickly and as it turns out, she teaches yoga! She found out that I was thinking of exploring yoga and let me know of a new class she was teaching.
I am a complete beginner when it comes to the art of yoga but I have started hearing more and more about the benefits of yoga for cancer survivors. Running has added to some inflexibility that I have…my hamstrings and calves are very tight, along with my hips…so I always assumed that yoga was just something that wouldn’t work for me. I used to joke with people that there must be some barrier to entry in the flexibility department to make yoga “work” and I obviously didn’t have it. Boy was I wrong!
I have now attended yoga once a week for 4 weeks. I can already tell that I have more hamstring flexibility. I can also tell you that I am loving it. The class I attend is small but I think most importantly, it is run by a wonderful woman who helps readjust the participants’ poses when necessary and often offers helpful tips and comments. She preaches self-care and self-love at every opportunity during the classes. I will fully admit that while sometimes I feel like a strong and powerful warrior woman…at other times I feel like an elephant in a crystal shop. But you know what? That is ok! I am doing something intentionally good for my mind and my body, and I am loving this new challenge.